Judge Orders Association To Stop Seeking Gifts As "deputy Sheriffs"

Attorney General Spitzer today praised a court order that stops a Saratoga County benevolent association from engaging in misleading solicitations for charitable contributions.

Albany County State Supreme Court Justice Joseph C. Teresi issued a permanent injunction against a group that used the name "Saratoga County Deputy Sheriffs' Benevolent Association" to solicit hundreds of thousands of dollars from Saratoga County residents. Spitzer's office sought the court order because the association does not, in fact, represent any deputy sheriffs - and has not done so for the last 11 years.

The legal action taken by Spitzer's office reflected the concern that the association's charitable solicitations misled potential donors about its membership and followed repeated efforts to convince the association to change its name or describe its membership to donors.

"It is critical that donors be provided only with information that is completely truthful and not misleading in any way." Spitzer said.

The association's members are not deputy sheriffs, but are actually corrections officers, clerks, cooks and other civil employees of the Saratoga County Sheriff's Department. The county's deputy sheriffs are represented by a separate organization - the "Saratoga County Deputy Sheriffs' PBA."

Deputy Sheriff Glenn Sheehy, President of the Saratoga County Deputy Sheriffs' PBA said: "We applaud Attorney General Spitzer's efforts to resolve this intentional misuse of the Deputy Sheriffs' name to raise funds. I'm now hopeful that I will never again be approached by someone who thought they had pledged money to support the Deputy Sheriffs' PBA, only to learn that their hard-earned money went elsewhere."

In a similar case last year, the Attorney General's office reached an agreement with the "Putnam County Deputy Sheriff's Benevolent Association" to omit the phrase "deputy sheriff" from its name.

This case was handled by Assistant Attorney General Timothy B. Lennon of the Charities Bureau, under the direction of Section Chief Robert Pigott and Bureau Chief Gerald Rosenberg.